One of the most widely-accepted definitions of transmedia literature explains that it is “another way of telling stories through multiple platforms and formats, which in theory should make different contributions to enhancing storytelling and to achieving a spectator-actor-reader-player-fan who is integrated into the book’s narrative world”.
Content that is merely written is not enough to satisfy digital natives, who are not content with the passive experience of the traditional reader or spectator and who demand to be actors, players and even creators, taking part in the work themselves.
The iPad can be an excellent tool for enhancing the reading experience. There are additional benefits to using this type of mobile device to read, especially at a very young age: if a child wants to learn a word, they can touch the screen and listen to the word being repeated until they have learnt it; it is possible to listen to stories in other languages to become acquainted with the intonation and pronunciation; and some literary applications even allow you to record the audio of the person reading the book, thus making them the narrator.
But if you let your imagination run wild, the possibilities multiply: the iPad helps us to turn traditional stories into songs, videos, comics and many other formats that are worth exploring. So here are a few recommendations.
1. Make MUSICAL versions of short stories. Using the application Songify, that converts dictated text into a song, it is possible to translate readings into the language of music in a fun way and with an original result.
2. Create VIDEO-BOOKS on early concepts. Educreations is an application that allows you to create videos by capturing the writing and the images on the screen, so it “animates” the readers’ creations. It is especially useful for recreating books on basic concepts.
3. Summarize stories in COMIC STRIPS. After completing an hour of comprehensive reading, a good follow-up activity is to convert what they have read, for example, into a comic strip, taking three or four standout images from the book (or imagining them if there are none) and adding brief texts. You can do this with the application Photocomic.
4. Design digital READING SHEETS: so that readers learn to make use of the writing possibilities offered by the iPad they can use Pages, the word processor par excellence. It offers templates with an attractive design that allow you to create informative posters about books, updating the concept of the reading sheet.
5. Write collaborative STORIES: there are very interesting tools on the Internet that allow you to perform almost magical activities for the youngest of readers. Twiddla is a collaborative online whiteboard that allows you to start group sessions and share what is being created in real time on the screens of all of the connected devices, for example, through the exquisite corpse method.
6. Enjoy interactive GAMES: through gamification it is possible to learn about the gaming possibilities that involve interactive reading on the iPad. Draw a Stickman is an application on which you convert drawings into the characters in a story, which the reader creates themselves.
Digital devices not only offer additional elements to enjoy reading, but also an opportunity to improve fluency in language and other learning: it allows you to listen, touch, see… In short, to interact with what you are reading.